The love affair between Spain and grand prix racing is a long-lasting one. And it goes back to the very roots of Spanish culture, as until not so long ago Formula 1® was a lot less safe than it is now. So the inevitable comparisons that have always been made in Spain between drivers and matadors made a lot of sense. Myths grew up around both figures, celebrating their association with daring and risk. And this, of course, was a legend born many years before the Montmelò circuit, close to Barcelona, was even thought of. The history of grand prix racing in Spain started in 1951: only the second season of the world championship.
It was said that Generalissimo Francisco Franco himself wanted to see racing cars on the city streets. And so the Pedralbes street circuit was pressed into action: more than six kilometres long within the eponymous district of Barcelona, and mostly consisting of straights. It was the terrifying accident at Le Mans in 1955 that finally brought the career of Pedralbes as an F1® street circuit to a close.
But Spain loved racing back then as much as it does now, so after a 13-year break, grand prix action resumed closer to Madrid, on the more modern and safer Jarama circuit.
In total, nine Spanish grands prix were held at Jarama and at least two of them are inextricably linked with Ferrari history. In 1974, the circuit witnessed Niki Lauda’s first victory with Ferrari, exhibiting the form that would make him a three-time world champion 10 years later.